The Holy Bible (The Contemporary English Version – 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18): 14 We believe that Jesus died and was raised to life. We also believe that when God brings Jesus back again, he will bring with him all who had faith in Jesus before they died. 15 Our Lord Jesus told us that when he comes, we won't go up to meet him ahead of his followers who have already died. 16 With a loud command and with the shout of the chief angel and a blast of God's trumpet, the Lord will return from heaven. Then those who had faith in Christ before they died will be raised to life. 17 Next, all of us who are still alive will be taken up into the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the sky. From that time on we will all be with the Lord forever. 18 Encourage each other with these words.
Thoughts: To help understand how the decisions we make today impact our future, I want to compare what happens when a natural disaster approaches, versus the decisions we make regarding our relationship with Jesus Christ. For when we evaluate our decisions in either scenario, the result can make the difference between life and eternal death. Here are some choices we have to consider in both scenarios:
- When the warnings of an approaching disaster are up – such as a hurricane, or other killer-type natural disaster/storm:Natural Disaster: We may have time to make some last minute preparations or purchase supplies to help us while we are displaced. But most importantly we must decide if we will obey the evacuation and/or preparation orders;Spiritually: Again in this scripture today we are given the warning that only those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior will go beyond life as we know it today. In other words, eternal life in heaven. We are either reassured of our impending resurrection with Jesus, or we are stubbornly deciding to continue in the way of this world and accept our destiny in Hell when Jesus comes to take His children home to glory;
- During the preparation period:Natural Disaster: We are warned at the beginning of each hurricane season about the items we should have stashed away for a quick evacuation, should it become necessary. After visiting with a friend up north and seeing his disaster kit in the trunk of his car, I know that in cold areas you are also warned to be prepared should you be forced to remain in your vehicles in extreme winter storms. In both cases, in advance preparation we are able to get quality items and avoid disaster at the stores before the last minute preparers hit the stores. We also stand the chance of getting to the stores and purchasing what we need while there is safety and time to do that. Plus the stress of entering an announced impending disaster period is much reduced when we are ready in advance;Spiritually: We are warned whenever we read the Bible. We are reminded when we read the newspapers and see all that is going on in our world today. Fellow Christians and/or pastors remind us whenever given the opportunity. As in the case of Natural Disasters, we have a choice to prepare in advance and enjoy the blessings of Christianity even while here on earth. However, of even greater importance, we stand ready to meet God, should sudden death come upon us.
- The results of our readiness, or lack thereof:Natural Disaster: We often hear of deaths resulting from unprepared citizens. They made a choice to be unprepared, and they paid the ultimate price. Even if prepared, the individuals still went through a lot of stress evacuating, and possibly still got caught in some of the fury of the disaster;Spiritually: Even so Come Lord Jesus, Come! Paul likened it to the greater joy that is to come, compared to the joy that is ours here on earth with our Master at the wheel of our lives. Imagine the sweet, sweet spirit of being in the presence of Jesus, worshiping and glorifying Him for endless days. What a Day that will be! This is the peace and joy that Christians have while here on this earth. We are happy here, but sure that we will be even happier with the Lord!
Prayer: Lord, Your Word has displayed a warning light for us again today, for it has reminded us of the need to be ready for that glorious day when You will call us home to glory! I know that this will not be a shining day for some, because they have chosen to ignore the warnings. If they are granted time enough to read this devotional today, I pray that You might graciously soften their hearts and convince them of the need to be prepared, for I believe that Your return is very near. I especially pray for family and friends who have not yet heeded the warnings from You, and I pray earnestly for their salvation. In Your own perfect way Oh Lord, please deal in their lives today, for I want to see them when I join all the saints around Your throne in Heaven. Thank You for drawing me to Yourself some 39 years ago, please continue to use me for Your glory while allowed to remain here on earth. I will praise and honor You for all things Oh Lord, for I ask these things in anticipation of Your perfect will being accomplished, and with thanksgiving, AMEN!
FOOTNOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to blogger.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day's devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, Sebring, FL! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!